Serving the World’s Poor

  • Through a career as a development sociologist, I have learned about not only the consequences of poverty but also about just how complicated it is to reduce it. For many years, I did research on development, studying what works, what doesn’t, and why—and seeing how well- intended projects can often exclude the most vulnerable members of society, many of whom are women. I came to MCC because I wanted to take what I had learned and put it into practice in an agency with potential for great impact and which had made social and gender inclusion a policy priority.

    —Michelle Adato,
    Director, Social and Gender Assessment,
    Department of Compact Operations 

  • As an English teacher in rural China and a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco, I observed the effects of economic growth on a daily basis. I watched roads being paved, hospitals built, sanitation systems constructed, and schools expanded and modernized—as well as an improvement of people’s lives and income-generating opportunities as a result. These experiences gave me hope that poverty was not an insurmountable, inevitable fact of life, but could instead be overcome by smart, targeted investments. I work at MCC because I am excited that MCC’s mission and methods portray a similar optimism and belief in the potential of economic growth.

    —Cynthia Berning,
    Program Officer,
    Department of Compact Operations

  • I have always wanted to work towards improving the lives of others, particularly the world’s most vulnerable. In traveling to various countries and growing up in West Africa, I have met people who possessed both the will and drive to improve their conditions but simply lacked the means and resources to do so. At MCC, I am interested in how different sectors (such as agriculture, education and health) can best work together to find long-term solutions to some of these challenges. What really drew me to MCC was not only its mission to reduce poverty, but also its holistic and cross-sectoral approach to development. 

    —Atiyyah Edwards,
    Program Analyst,
    Department of Compact Operations

  • I was born and raised in Ethiopia. I left the country at the height of a massive famine in the early 1980s. Living in one of the poorest countries of the world has shaped my career in development and eventually led me to MCC. Working for MCC has provided me with the opportunity to give back and be part of larger diaspora contributing to reducing poverty on the continent. This is more than just a job. Through MCC, I’m fulfilling my goals and aspirations for a better future in Africa. 

    —Elisabeth Feleke,
    Deputy Resident Country Director, Namibia 

  • I used to be a newspaper reporter. As I traveled the world—from Africa to the Middle East to Latin America—I saw firsthand how millions of people are in need every single day I knew I needed to be part of the solution. At MCC, I have the opportunity to use my writing and editing skills to help the agency fulfill its mission of reducing poverty across the world.

    —Scott Fontaine,
    Corporate copywriter-editor,
    Department of Congressional and Public Affairs

  • By working at MCC, I have the privilege of knowing that daily tasks, no matter how modest, contribute to a shared mission of reducing poverty through economic growth. In several instances, I’ve had the opportunity to see the actual results achieved by our partners around the world. It is in these successful projects that a spirit of service to others is most clearly reflected and in which all Americans can be proud. 

    —John Hanley,
    Department of Administration and Finance

  • After completing Peace Corps in Mali, I returned to the United States for graduate school and focused my research on aid effectiveness. As I read economic literature on the types of practices and policies that result in more effective international aid, I was disappointed by how few of them I had seen enacted by donors or development organizations in the field. It was during these studies that I first learned about the Millennium Challenge Corporation. I was immediately heartened at the idea of a donor putting principles of aid effectiveness into practice. When the opportunity arose to work at MCC, I was thrilled to contribute to this mission, and to this day one of my favorite parts of the job is researching and implementing methods that ensure international aid is as effective as possible in reducing poverty around the world.

    —Andria Hayes-Birchler,
    Development Policy Officer,
    Department of Policy and Evaluation

  • My background is a project finance attorney.  I liked the idea that, even if I was moving paper around, my work resulted in something real and concrete in the world, something you could touch.  After several years of this work, I realized that my work actually resulted in making a lot of money for very large corporations.  I came to MCC so that my work, which still results in there being things you can touch, would also result in making a bit of money for impoverished people.  That goal, of working to improve people’s lives, makes all the difference.

    —David Kassebaum,
    Senior International Attorney,
    Office of General Counsel

  • After finishing my master’s degree in international development, I knew I wanted to pursue a career at an organization that embodied the development best practices I had learned about in the academic world. MCC’s commitment to country ownership, emphasis on continuous learning and focus on tangible results for the world’s poor drew me to the agency. I now feel lucky to go to work every day and play a small role in reducing global poverty as part of an agency that is striving to make a tangible and sustainable impact on the lives of the world’s poor.

    —Caitlin LeBlanc,
    Program Analyst,
    Department of Compact Operations

  • During college, I studied with a great South African physicist who was also a social activist during and following apartheid. One day I asked him how I too could do great physics and also work toward social betterment. He replied, “It’s easy: Get famous really young, get tenure somewhere, and then you can do whatever you want.” I did the math and decided I wasn’t willing to wait for tenure to start working for the end of poverty. Working at MCC gives me the opportunity to help make a difference today in the lives of the poor and vulnerable.

    —Sarah Olmstead,
    Department of Policy and Evaluation

  • As a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, my ideas about international development were challenged and my beliefs about what works took shape. It seemed that the projects making the greatest impact were those focused on modernizing the systems—health, infrastructure, education, governance—throughout my host country. These were the projects that would continue for many years after a donor or investor left and would foster organic growth using local resources and human capital. As a recently returned volunteer, it is exciting to now be working at MCC, where I have the opportunity to put this passion for investing in projects that work into action. I feel privileged to be contributing to MCC compacts with partner countries that are thinking big about sustainably changing the economic fabric and, ultimately, the future of their countries.

    —Beth Roberts,
    Program Analyst,
    Department of Compact Operations

  • I am a lawyer and the grandson of a minister.  As a lawyer, I am focused on the proper application of law in pursuit of justice.  As a grandson, I watched my grandfather preach about the importance of justice, not because it was written down in a law, but rather because justice was mandated by an authority born out of our morality and common dignity.   The tradition of justice, morality and dignity are deeply ingrained in the work and vision of Dr. King.  I am immensely fortunate that at MCC I am able to work every day to further those traditions as we look to reduce poverty in our partner countries, and are a living example of what Dr. King meant when he said: “The rich nations must use their vast resources of wealth to develop the underdeveloped, school the unschooled, and feed the unfed.” 

    —Melvin Williams,
    Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary